About East African Community Media Network (EACOMNET)
East African Community Media Network (EACOMNET) is the networking organization for community media in Eastern Africa. Eastern Africa countries that are currently covered by the network include Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somali. EACOMNET is anchored on the national community media associations in respective countries in Eastern Africa, such as Kenya Community Media Network (KCOMNET), Community Media Network of Uganda (COMNETU), Community Media Network of South Sudan (CoMNeTSS), Ethiopia Community Radio Association, Tanzania Development Information Organization (TADIO), formerly known as Community Media Network of Tanzania (COMNETA), among others in the sub- region.
The mission of EACOMNET is to network community media initiatives, especially community radio, in Eastern Africa and to facilitate them to engage effectively in addressing pressing socio-economic, cultural and environmental issues and challenges in the region. Key partners of the network include national community media associations, media development organizations, regional and international NGOs, UN agencies, regional inter- governmental agencies and other development partners. Partners who have engaged with EACOMNET include UNESCO, Commonwealth of Learning (COL), East African Community (EAC), among others.
EACOMNET programmatic areas are focused on networking, capacity building, content development, research and policy advocacy. Since its inception on 4th April, 2012, EACOMNET has supported efforts in many countries in Africa to establish national community media networks where they were non-existent. Strengthening national community media associations is important for them to be able to support community media outlets and groups to address pressing socio-economic and local governance issues in grassroots communities.
In 2013, EACOMNET through UNESCO Namibia Office supported Namibia community radio association to establish its structures and strengthen its operations. EACOMNET has also supported community media in South Sudan and Ethiopia to devise means of sustainability and adoption to the changing media landscape with the onset of modern Information Technologies. This includes the recognition of community radio as a distinct sector of broadcasting alongside public and private broadcasters.
In 2012 – 2013, EACOMNET engaged in a project under the Unified Budget, Results and Accountability Framework (UBRAF) to upscale and strengthen the capacities of the youth in East Africa to advocate and combat HIV/AIDS through community media, mobile telephony and online presence. The project was supported by UNESCO Regional office in Nairobi in collaboration with UNAIDS.
EACOMNET in collaboration with the national networks in respective countries in the Eastern Africa has also been engaged in the adaption and implementation of the Community Radio Continuous Improvement Toolkit (CR-CIT) in Eastern Africa. The toolkit that has been developed by UNESCO Chair on Community Media complements efforts being undertaken to improve the capacities of community radio stations and practitioners in various key areas related to the sustainable development of community radio.
Currently, EACOMNET and AMARC – Africa in partnership with UNESCO (Addis Ababa Liaison Office to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa) and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has set-up a one stop online Hub to share information and resources on Covid – 19 and related health challenges for community media practitioners and citizens in Africa.